The World Triathlon Series touches down in Yokohama this weekend. With it being the third round in the series, results will now start to shape the world rankings. If any athlete has hopes on the world title it is now crucial they begin to put down some results worthy of that crown! The Olympic qualification period for Tokyo 2020 also starts, so that adds more importance to the race even two years out!
With sporadic results thus far caused by the disruption of the Commonwealth games and the numerous crashes in Abu Dhabi, the series lead will likely change after the weekend. Yokohama is a favourite race for many of the elites out there, and there is always strong line up so we can expect to see some furious racing. Conditions are always up and down, and it will likely shape the outcome of the race. We have seen the race dictated by breakaways and hard racing, but also races that have come to a standstill while the field waits for a 10km foot race! All of this makes for a difficult prediction!
In the men’s race, Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) will line up among favourites. He has finished in second place in his last four WTS races that he has completed (he crashed out in Abu Dhabi), surely the top spot beckons for the HUUB athlete? Another HUUB athlete looking to put an unlucky start to the year behind him will be Tom Bishop (GBR). The British athlete crashed in both Abu Dhabi and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, however looking at splits he seems in great shape across all three disciplines. After the Norwegians broke records in Bermuda, Gustav Iden (NOR) will be looking to have another great race and build on his performances in the first two WTS races. Finally, as far as HUUB is concerned, we have the Commonwealth Champion and Abu Dhabi’s winner Henri Schoeman (RSA). The results speak for themselves regarding the shape the South African is in. Although we have other big names such as Mario Mola (ESP), Jake Birthwhistle (AUS), Richard Murray (RSA), Fernando Alarza (ESP) and Vincent Luis (FRA) among others I’m going to back HUUB and go for a HUUB clean sweep.
Duffy (BER) will be head and shoulders favourite leading into the weekend. The Bermudian comes off the back of victories at both the Commonwealth Games and Bermuda WTS where she soloed to victory in front of thousands of home fans. The statistics support Flora as well, last year she won from a breakaway with HUUB athlete Sophie Coldwell (GBR). The sometimes challenging conditions allow those athletes with who are technically as good on their bike as they are strong to shine. The chasing pack seem to be getting better at the chase, so perhaps we may see Flora not getting her own way this time around. The British pairing of Non Stanford and Jodie Stimpson, both past WTS winners, they will know what it takes to win so keep an eye out for them. The Americans are also a threat, with current WTS leader Kirsten Kasper, Katie Zaferes and Summer Cook. Other athletes to watch out for include Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), Rachel Klamer (NED), Natalie Van Coevorden and the Japanese squad who will have a home advantage!
The World Paratriathlon Series also heads to Yokohama. It’s probably the biggest race of the year so far for many of the para-athletes. HUUB is certainly well represented. Longtime HUUB athlete George Peasgood (GBR) - PTS5, fresh off the back of a silver medal at the Paracycling Road World Cup in Belgium will be full of confidence and seems to be improving year on year. In the PTWC category Commonwealth Champion, Joe Townsend (GBR) will line up against fellow HUUB superstar and multiple World Champion and Paralympic Champion Jetze Plat (NED). Ryan Taylor will also be flying the flag in the PTS3 category, and the previous international football player will be hoping to build on his performances from 2017 where he achieved his first WPTS victory in Edmonton.